Myasthenia gravis disease occurred by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control. It is caused by a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles. There is no cure for myasthenia gravis, but treatment can help relieve signs and symptoms, such as weakness of arm or leg muscles, double vision, drooping eyelids, and difficulties with speech, chewing, swallowing, and breathing. This disease can affect people of any age, it's more common in women younger than 40 and in men older than 60.
Problems walking upstairs or lifting objects.
Difficulty breathing due to muscle weakness.
Difficulty swallowing or chewing.
Drooping of eyelids
Antibodies-In myasthenia gravis, immune system produces antibodies that block or destroy many of your muscles' receptor sites for a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. With fewer receptor sites available, your muscles receive fewer nerve signals, resulting in weakness. Antibodies may also block the function of a protein called a muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase. This protein is involved in forming the nerve-muscular junction. Antibodies that block this protein can lead to myasthenia gravis.
Thymus gland- The thymus gland is a part of our immune system situated in the upper chest beneath your breastbone. It has been believed that the thymus gland triggers or maintains the production of the antibodies that block acetylcholine. Some people with myasthenia gravis also have tumors of the thymus gland (thymomas). Usually, thymomas aren't cancerous (malignant), but they can become cancerous.
Other causes- Few people have myasthenia gravis that is not caused by antibodies blocking acetylcholine or the muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase. This type of myasthenia gravis is called antibody-negative myasthenia gravis. Antibodies against another protein, called lipoprotein-related protein 4, can play a part in the development of this condition. It’s rare that mothers with myasthenia gravis have children who are born with myasthenia gravis (neonatal myasthenia gravis). If treated promptly, children generally recover within two months after birth. Some children are born with a rare, hereditary form of myasthenia, called congenital myasthenic syndrome.
Checking your reflexes
Looking for muscle weakness
Checking for muscle tone
Making certain your eyes move properly.
Testing sensation in different areas of your body
Testing motor functions, like touching your finger to your nose
Other tests that can help your doctor diagnose the condition include:
Repetitive nerve stimulation test
Blood testing for antibodies associated with MG.
Edrophonium (Tensilon) test: a drug called Tensilon (or a placebo) is administered intravenously, and you are asked to perform muscle movements under doctor observation.
Imaging of the chest using CT scans or MRI to rule out a tumor.
There is no cure for myasthenia gravis, but the symptoms can often be controlled. Myasthenia gravis is a lifelong medical condition. The aim of treatment is to increase muscle function and prevent swallowing and breathing problems. Most people with this condition can improve their muscle strength and lead normal or near normal lives. In more severe cases, help may be needed for breathing and eating.
Treatment may include:
Medicine. Anticholinesterase medicines, steroids, or medicines that suppress the immune system’s response (immunosuppressive) medicines may be used. Do not take medicines without doctor permission.
Thymectomy. This is a surgical removal of the thymus gland. The role of the thymus gland in myasthenia gravis is not fully understood, and the thymectomy may or may not improve symptoms. However, it reduces symptoms in more than 70% of people who do not have cancer of the thymus, possibly by altering the immune system response.
Plasmapheresis. A procedure that removes abnormal antibodies from the blood and replaces the blood with normal antibodies from donated blood.
Immunoglobulin. A blood product that helps decrease the immune system’s attack on the nervous system. It is given intravenously (IV).
When should you contact your doctor?
Blurred or double vision
Problems chewing and swallowing
Weakness in the arms and legs
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Treatment can usually help keep the symptoms under control. Rarely, myasthenia gravis gets better on its own. If severe, myasthenia gravis can be life-threatening, but it does not have a significant impact on life expectancy for most people.
Q.Why is myasthenia gravis called the snowflake disease?
MG is often called the “snowflake disease” because it differs so much from person to person. The degree of muscle weakness and the muscles that are affected vary greatly from patient to patient and from time to time.
Q.Can you live a normal life with myasthenia gravis?
Most individuals with myasthenia can lead a normal or nearly normal life if treatment is started on time. Myasthenia gravis or grave muscle weakness is a neuromuscular disorder that causes gradual progressive weakness in the muscles that allow the body to move (skeletal muscles).
Q.How long does it take to recover from myasthenia gravis?
Usually, it resolves in 2 to 3 months.
Q.What foods should I avoid with myasthenia gravis?
If MG medication causes diarrhea or stomach upset, avoid foods that are fatty, spicy or high in fiber. Avoid dairy foods, except for yogurt which can sooth digestive problems. Good choices include mild foods like bananas, white rice, eggs, and chicken.
Q.Does exercise help myasthenia gravis?
Exercise is helpful for people with MG, but patients should not embark on exercise programs that require maximum output and produce weakness.
Q.What can make myasthenia gravis worse?
Fatigue, insufficient sleep.
Overexertion, repetitive motion.
Sudden fear, extreme anger.
Extreme temperatures (hot or cold weather, hot showers or baths, sunbathing, saunas, hot tubs)
Q.What is the usual surgical treatment for myasthenia gravis?
Thoracic surgeons often encounter and treat myasthenia gravis because the thymus gland, which produces some of the immune chemicals that cause the condition, is in the chest, below the throat. Removing the thymus gland—a procedure known as thymectomy—is a mainstay in the surgical treatment of myasthenia gravis.
Q.How long does it take to recover from a thymectomy?
The recovery time depends on the type of surgery. It may take 1 to 2 weeks or as long as 3 months.
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